Define Gun Control

Few people seem to know what gun control is or isn’t, how it differs from state to state, what laws are or aren’t enforced, how they do or don’t apply to gun shows, and how this all applies or doesn’t to mass shootings.

Just lots of knee-jerk shouting. You can’t solve a problem you don’t understand.

This is a rhetorical post. A challenge to get your facts straight. Unhelpful or contentious comments will be deleted.

Some Un-Conventional Advice

Based on decades of professional game demo experience, and grad school teacher training, I would say that the best way to kill role-play enthusiasm for new players at a convention event is (a) pre-gen characters and; (b) rules info dump up front. Saddle players with those at the same time they’re supposed to be engaging with the unfolding story, and you’ve made role-play a chore.

Look, I get it. In most game systems pre-gen characters are a necessity, because there are so few hours in a convention demo slot. Which is why as a player myself, I quit going to those sorts of slots.

Conversely, the best way to engage players in a new RPG is:

  1. Let them create their own characters;
  2. Role-play until the first needed dice roll;
  3. Explain how dice work for actions;
  4. Role-play with that knowledge until combat breaks out;
  5. Explain how actions work in combat;
  6. Role-play to the adventure’s conclusion;
  7. Give players a memento of the session—the character they just created, to dream about playing its future adventures.

This is why D6xD6 and Bookmark HP RPG bookmark and biz card character sheets exist. First, to emphasize just how quickly and concisely you can design a character, and second, to fit the unique character you designed in your wallet or a book. I’ve seen countless 8½ x 11 inch character sheets in convention trash cans because they start to bulk out folders, or spill from the backs of books. (Even the D13 RPG is designed for generating characters quickly at the table.)

Running convention events, I’ve seen this approach succeed repeatedly, virtually inevitably. Some free advice from an old hand who just likes to see people succeed and have fun.

Smurfs & Ladders et al

In my early 30’s, my old high school friend Jim Cotton & I used to game all night every Friday & Saturday, because we just couldn’t say goodbye.

Around about 3am we’d get punchy, laugh about everything, & once even spent an hour playing Chutes & Ladders with Smurf toys & a d20.

Lately I’ve often caught him awake at 4am. We chide each other to go to bed. And yesterday that “Smurfs & Ladders” game came to mind.

Now I have an itch to use some old board games like Chutes & Ladders, Candyland, even Monopoly as solo role-play oracles. I’ll let you know how it goes. 😆

A Father Explains Why TV Shows Get Canceled


At first, my boy, they’re always fascinating.
Each fresh new face conceals a mystery,
an undiscovered personality,
which we spend every week anticipating.

Then, even once the novelty’s abating,
there’s comfort in familiarity.
At each old joke, we chuckle faithfully
(our sense of humor undiscriminating).

And when, at last, the sameness becomes grating
(or worse, begins to spread a dull ennui),
it’s best to terminate them gracefully,
before their antics grow humiliating.

So now you know why God invented death, son.
(Though we can always hope for syndication.)

—Lester Smith, 2007